Top 25: best Hip Hop albums of 2019
We reckon, most of the time, this kind of lists could be pointless as are not really objective but we’d like to propose it either to have fun and as it may encourage you to listen to some 2019 Hip Hop Albums you might have missed out.
After the release of 10 studio albums, including a couple of ”classics”, and a solid career started in 2005, The Game deserves certainly the title of legend. According to the Compton rapper, the last release of November called “Born 2 Rap” will be the conclusive work of his career. The only regret is the length of this album. In fact, “Born 2 Rap”, with a few less tracks, could have been another classic.
In the last few years, It seemed that the generational gap between the Hip-Hop listeners it has expanded like huge walls lifted, but often our beliefs are based on prejudices. For example, YBN Cordae, born in ‘97, is the demonstration that even among the youngsters there are a lot of skilled rappers. “The Lost Boy” is a record showing the great talent and the bright future that this young guy could achieve if he continues to work hard.
Rookie of The Year
DaBaby is, without doubt, the revelation of the year: in a short time, hit by hit, he conquered the top charts and the US clubs. The Carolina native rapper is a charismatic, flamboyant and funny character as he reflects in his music and videos. His “Baby on Baby” is a record debut with a bang, thanks to its several club hits and to the contagious DaBaby energy.
This year, nobody worked harder than DJ Muggs! The legendary Cypress Hill producer has entered in a sort of mystic dimension, halfway between a Shaolin Monk and solitary “assassin”. He makes beats for just for a chosen few: Underground MCs that religiously respect his tastes and perfectly fit the obscure atmospheres forged by the master. Crimeapple, is one of the chosen. Medallo is just one among the 6/7 albums dropped by Muggs this year, but undoubtedly one of the best
Somehow Jim Jones, always remained on track despite his several beef and legal problems. “El Capo”, entirely produced by The Heatmakerz, could even be considered the New York rapper best work to date.
Smif’n’Wessun have been in the game for almost 30 years but it’s never easy to age like a fine wine. “The All” is a great comeback of the legendary Brooklyn group. They never fall in the “it was better before” rhetoric, as sometimes happens in certain nostalgic reunion of the oldies. Although, Tek & Steele, have never lost their sharpness but they still provide pearls of wisdom.
Texas confirms to be a forge of incredible talents: Maxo Kream, after last year exploit with “Punken”, he confirms that he is constantly growing and definitely matured along his “Brandon Banks”. The official debut of the rapper from Houston confirms his great skills. If you are looking forward to a great prospect from the South, Maxo will amaze you.
Rapsody is a true queen: a proud and courageous woman. It’s very common that the music industry encourages women artists to mainly focus on their body and their sensuality to achieve success. Anyway, the rapper from Carolina remained true to herself, focusing only on her skills. In addition to being a positive character, she is also one of the best female MC in the game. On “Eve” she shows her awesome femininity and her great talent, without showing her curves.
Like him or not, Young Thug is an innovator and an incredible entertainer: the Atlanta rapper’s melodies and the beats of which he disposes would make move the ass of a pole too. “So Much Fun” is a perfect title for this album: 19 songs of pure pun and tons of swag, with several club bangers and important guests.
First of all, Free Dark Lo! The Philadelphia crew OBH is under a F.B.I attack : after Ar-Ab arrest, recently they also got in custody DarkLo, indicted for threatening one key witness of the Ar-Ab trial. By coincidence, American Made was released the month before his arrest. This album is either a strong statement against the American system and a witness of the perverse dynamics of the American streets. As he declared, Dark Lo quit the criminal way, but sometimes the government bring you a bill that is way more heavy than expected.
One of the most important and intriguing side of the Hip-Hop world is that, even if the great budgets flows and the media attentions are mainly focused on the mainstream, it exists an underworld filled with really talented artist. Over the years these rappers have kept alive the real spirit of this Culture and 38.Spesh, from Rochester NY is definitely one of them. He has been pushing his authentic street rap for years, producing also his beats. You can feel that 38 Strategies of Raw is 100%
Eto, as 38 Spesh, is one of those artists that carry on their music career with passion and for an expressive need, transmitting a rare authenticity to their listeners.
Eto, also from Rochester, is a street poet that writes a kind of adult music suitable for whom can sincerely “feel” his rhymes. The sound of DJ Muggs, who lives his music almost in a religious way, is perfectly tuned with the Rochester’s MC and the result is brilliant.
It is clear to everybody that the 2019 was the consacration year for W$G and Griselda Records: they signed a deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, releasing their major debut album with Eminem Shady Records and publishing several other independent tapes, watching their popularity grow significantly. Next year looks to be even more promising of this one. In the meanwhile the leader of the Buffalo’s crew, Westside Gunn, gave us another exciting chapter of the iconic mixtape saga Hitler Wears Hermes.
Once, the Hip-Hop scene epicenter was New York, the generational turnover after Dipset and G-Unit era has not produced any figure capable of achieving the commercial success of its predecessors and, in the meantime, of carrying on the tradition of the N.Y. Hip-Hop. Finally with Dave East, the Hip-Hop Mecca found someone to bridge this gap. Survival is a really modern album, that keeps the real five boroughs Hip-Hop spirit alive.
The South Central (L.A.) rapper can boast one of the most solid catalogues of the last decade. Actually, “CrasH Talk” in our opinion did not reach the previous ScHoolboy Q albums, but they are legitimately considered as classics contemporary Hip-Hop albums. However the Top Dawg rapper stays at the higher level of the 90% of the rappers in activity. He is carrying the flag of the West Coast gangsta rap.
If listening again to the voice of Guru (r.i.p) didn’t chill you , you might be too young or not really into this culture. The Gang Starr made the history of this genre and almost ten years after the Guru’s death, his rhymes are strictly actual. DJ Premier’s beats have always been in perfect symbiosis with the voice of the fallen MC 40+ years later his debut on the scene, the legendary DJ and beatmaker shows the love for Hip-Hop of a young kid.
Anderson .Paak is a prominent 360° artist: he sings, he spits rhymes and plays instruments with the naturalness of great musicians, doing everything in a unique way. Ventura is a Soul, Funk, R’n’B and 100% Hip-Hop album ins a lot of good vibes. As usual The Oxnard prodigy gives us top-notch music and a Andre 3000’s verse, in an “Acquemini” mood for the occasion.
Westside Gunn, Conway The Machine and Benny The Butcher, finally, succeeded bringing back the gangsta rap, in a refreshing way. Despite this major debut with Shady Records, they didn’t give up anything of their style and rhymes about their past street life.
The Buffalo collective inherited its raw essence from groups as Wu Tang Clan, Mobb Deep and The Lox, painting their pictures like a Scorsese’s movie. Thanks to the dark (and no sampled) beats of Daringer’ and Beat Butcha, “What Would ‘Chine Do” is a straight jab to the industry. Moreover all the album has been recorded in 2 days.
Among the most influential beatmakers of this Culture, certainly The Alchemist has his seat. The California based producer is a passionate student of the game, who probably lives in his studio always working on new projects. His love and his knowledge emerge also in this sort of ‘’concept’’ album. Besides chopping sophisticated samples he has also recruited some of the most gritty and valuable lyricist of the underground scene. The contrast between his soul and jazz samples and the raw street rhymes of his guests is something extraordinary.
Che Noir is a girl from Buffalo, unfortunately known by few but that is for sure one of the best emerging talents in underground scene of the East Coast. Her lyrics are those of a girl capable to observe and to analyse what’s around the cold Buffalo streets and she knows how to tell it either in a clear mood and with a ton of bars. We could probably say there is something magic in Buffalo’s water, as recently there are many talents coming from there.
Queen in the making
That’s true,“Igor” ain’t a proper “rap album” but it couldn’t be possible to categorize it as any other genre. Anyway his spirit is authentically Hip-Hop. To be outside of the box and to provoke are specific attributes of this Culture. The greatness of this album is inherent to an eclectic artist able to rap, sing and making beats in an incredible way. Moreover, “Igor”, contains some great music.
Even if Griselda Records is for many the underground revelation of the moment; Roc Marciano has been providing the flyest hardcore Hip-Hop sound since, almost, 10 years and the aficionados of this Hip-Hop culture “Renaissance” should primarily thank him. In fact, since his first LP “Marcberg”, the MC and producer from New York, ex Flipmode Squad member, has delivered only top quality and luxurious street rap, remaining independent and never compromising himself. Can you find another artist of this caliber that raps and produces albums like this “Marcielago” ?
At the 3rd spot we get another album provided by the Griselda collective , but that’s not our obsession. For street rap lovers, like us of Throw Up Magazine, the Buffalo’s squadron is a breath of fresh air and Benny the Butcher is legitimately one of the greatest lyricists of the last 10 years at least. His ability to paint with his rhymes vivid pictures of street life is comparable only to some of the all time hip hop greatest legends.
As we are not the only one believing it, also Jay-Z decided to sign Benny and the other Griselda members to Roc Nation and the New York Times ranked The Plugs I Met along the best all-genre albums of the year. Not bad for who lived in the Buffalo projects ’til 2 years ago.
Probably many of us, especially some of the Griselda Records fans, won’t cosign this spot. Indeed, “FlyGod is an Awesome God” is the Westside Gunn’s most complex and eccentric album to date. Like a canvas, it is worth looking at it for some time before understanding the visionary genius behind it. Just generating this effect to the listener, alongside Westside Gunn’s typical “boo-boo-boom” and some of the most gangsta verses of the last decade, is a good reason to say that this album deserved the podium.
If you get one of the best and more versatile MCs of the last 10 years and put him together with one of the most brilliant and original producers ever; you’ll defo find the perfect alchemy with the album ”Bandana”. Once again, Freddie Gibbs managed the tough task to excel himself while Madlib proved to be one of a kind, a musical genius that born once in many years. A 15 perfect tracks, accompanied by some music video that, alone, would deserve some awards.